Context: The Sun is a magnetic star whose magnetism and cyclic activity is linked to the existence of an internal dynamo.
Aims: We aim to understand the establishment of the solar magnetic 22-yr cycle, its associated butterfly diagram and field parity selection through numerical simulations of the solar global dynamo. Inspired by recent observations and 3D simulations that both exhibit multicellular flows in the solar convection zone, we seek to characterise the influence of various profiles of circulation on the behaviour of solar mean-field dynamo models. We focus our study on a number of specific points: the role played by these flows in setting the cycle period and the shape of the butterfly diagram and their influence on the magnetic field parity selection, namely the field parity switching from an antisymmetric, dipolar field configuration to a symmetric, mostly quadrupolar one, that has been discussed by several authors in the recent literature.
Methods: We are using 2D mean field flux transport Babcock-Leighton numerical models in which we test several types of meridional flows: 1 large single cell, 2 cells in radius and 4 cells per hemisphere.
Results: We confirm that adding cells in latitude tends to speed up the dynamo cycle whereas adding cells in radius more than triples the period. We find that the cycle period in the four cells model is less sensitive to the flow speed than in the other simpler meridional circulation profiles studied. Moreover, our studies show that adding cells in radius or in latitude seems to favour the parity switching to a quadrupolar solution.
Conclusions: According to our numerical models, the observed 22-yr cycle and dipolar parity is easily reproduced by models including multicellular meridional flows. On the contrary, the resulting butterfly diagram and phase relationship between the toroidal and poloidal fields are affected to a point where it is unlikely that such multicellular meridional flows persist for a long period of time inside the Sun, without having to reconsider the model itself.